My, we are a gloomy lot. Last week, I discussed the possible impact of a triple-dip recession. Last Thursday's GDP figures suggest that Britain's economy has so far avoided this fate. However, it is also clear that the government's hopes of steady growth of 2 - 3% a year have yet to be realised. And YouGov research for the Resolution Foundation finds that five years of economic troubles have left a deep mark on public opinion.
An unprecedented triple-dip recession has been averted, but yesterday's lacklustre growth figures mean our economy is simply back to where it was six months ago. This continues the overall picture of a flatlining economy in Britain ever since George Osborne's last spending review. In fact, this is now the weakest recovery for over 100 years.
Now is the time for the Labour party to create a new discourse and move away from "the Reagan and Thatcher settlement" Ed Miliband knows that he cannot sit back and watch the Coalition unravel, but if he is to win the next election, he has to set out moral and ideological terms for the future of the party.
I am 100 per cent convinced that Ed Miliband has courage, conviction and passion like no prime minister, since Margaret Thatcher left Downing Street. In that sense, he is her heir.
A Department for Infrastructure should be created. This super ministry would provide more than leadership for spending departments. It could consolidate infrastructure resources and talent spread thinly through the rest of Whitehall.
Let's be clear about something. One of the very few of the nation's MPs who can walk through the Commons with his head held high is George Galloway. Consistently, and unwaveringly, this is a man who speaks truth to power, and has done regardless of any personal cost to himself.
The past five years of economic troubles have left their mark. There is no obvious end to them in sight. And these troubles are reflected in people's lives, not just GDP statistics. Graduates saddled with debt and finding it hard to get a decent job; couples waiting a decade longer than their parents to buy their first home, and so on. Long-term pessimism may be misplaced, but it is not surprising.
Our study does not call for Labour to make a cast-iron spending pledge but quite the opposite. Flexibility is one of the most important tools in a Chancellor's armoury and should not be cast away lightly. Look at George Osborne, who has trapped himself by committing too firmly to his own 2010 plans and will not change his mind 'when the facts change'.
Thatcher's legacy is potent and ironically it has the potential to win the Conservatives the next election. At this point Labour has very nearly left it too late to convince the public of a clear direction. The Conservatives can retro-fit her legacy to give their current policies some meaning and identity.
For me, and all his close friends, this is a moment of great sadness and sense of loss that he and Louise will not be round the corner on a Sunday evening for a cup of coffee, glass of wine or bowl of spaghetti bolognese. He has been one of the most significant figures in Labour politics for the last twenty years and so much of what Labour has achieved David has played a part in.
Why on Earth, a visitor from another planet might ask us, has an incompetent dilettante been made Second Lord of the Treasury? We'd have to admit it's because his equally inept chum from uni has been made First Lord of the Treasury. How silly would that make us look?
For me as an ex business owner and entrepreneur one of the most important aspects of any budget is how it helps our business sector grow. In my view the budget delivered yesterday by the Chancellor is one that is great for business.
So George Osborne has lost his treasured AAA rating. We are now heading for record consecutive quarters of stop-start growth. Youth unemployment is at an all-time high. Neither the deficit nor the debt is coming down and there's no money to do anything about it. If we want to spend more we have to borrow more, and even Ed Balls can't be sure we'll end up better off if we do.
The sad truth is that the UK government has been running deficits for over a decade. General gross debt rose from 37% of GDP in 2001-02 to 44% of GDP in 2007-08 when strong growth should have led to healthy surpluses. Years of unsustainable discretionary spending and tax policies have left a ticking time bomb at the heart of the public finances.
It will be a big week for the Drear Leader. It started at the Conservative Party's spring conference. This is a chance for the PM to give a speech that the news media will put at the top of their bulletins and on the front pages of their papers, unless something more important comes up, like the commencement of all-out thermonuclear war, or Justin Bieber gets a haircut.
The Iraq War was the culmination of a process that started in 1994 with the rise of New Labour and reflected its heady psychological brew of arrogance and self-loathing. The arrogance came from a quasi-Leninist belief in Labour as the agent of some great historical mission on behalf of the masses - a traditional conceit of Labourism, admittedly.